UK

Scouts: '60 further enquiries to sue over child abuse'

Scout Association
Image caption The Scout Association has more than 400,000 members in the UK

Another 60 people have come forward to enquire about suing the Scouts over alleged historical abuse, lawyers said.

On Wednesday the BBC reported 56 people had instructed lawyers to make claims for compensation against the Scouts since October 2012.

Not all of the 60 new enquiries relate to fresh allegations of abuse. Some claimant's cases may have already been through the criminal legal system.

The association has apologised for any hurt caused by abuse.

The Scout Association, along with individual scoutmasters, has already paid £897,000 in damages, lawyers for the claimants say.

'Deeply sorry'

David McClenaghan, a solicitor for law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, said he had been contacted by people claiming to have been abused.

"I think what that demonstrates is that the figures that have come out really are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of people who have suffered abuse," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Scout Association said on Wednesday it was "deeply sorry" for any abuse carried out in the movement.

Image caption Child abuse lawyer David McClenaghan said he had been contacted overnight following BBC reports

But Mr McClenaghan, who has already handled the cases of some 30 alleged victims, said the apology only came after "intense pressure from the media".

He told Today: "It's convenient that that has been issued now and it serves their self-interest rather than being a genuine apology to the individual people."

The association said its failure to report one abuser to police had been an "inappropriate and unacceptable response".

But it said it was an "extremely rare incidence".

The association said the safety of young people is its "number one priority", and told the BBC it had been notified of 36 claims since October 2012.

It said it had only faced 12 other such claims since its formation in 1907.

A spokesman added: "As a movement we will always handle any complaints in a sensitive and professional manner and cooperate fully with the prosecuting authorities."

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